Part 1 Martha’s Prayer Cupboard – Introduction

“Why,” sighed Martha,
“is the only story everyone remembers about me
is one moment of irritation and a put-down from
Someone who – everyone assumes – had no sense of humour.
There’s even a concordance –
you know, a book where you’re supposed to be able to find
every reference to the people and incidents in the Bible –
well, there is one of those where the only reference to me is
“Martha – Jesus’ rebuke of…”!!

Thomas and I have a lot in common –
one remark made when he was taken off guard –
“unless I see His hands and His feet….”etc
and he’s “Doubting Thomas” forever!

One remark – made under serious provocation I might say –
and I’m used as a dire warning to busy people for generations to come!

Dismas’ one-liner gets him into paradise –
ours gets us into history as doubters and over-harassed housewives!

Well, let’s set the record straight a bit.
Where did Jesus know He could go to get a good supper –
and a bit of peace – and, close to the end, a bit of safety.
Who did He know who could rustle up a “little something”
for the band of followers who wouldn’t know
one end of a cooking pot from the other?
Who did He know would let Him have His say –
and then have a laugh about it later?

You see – we knew each other very well, Jesus and I.
And recording things in a book – well, you get the words –
but you don’t hear the way we said it…
There weren’t many people who could take the idea
that Jesus liked to have fun too – and share a bit of banter –
and especially not with a woman!
Maybe that’s why they recorded that episode!
A way of making sure I got my come-uppance
when there was no chance of answering back!

Fortunately, as I say, Jesus and I knew each other very well –
better than some of those who were destined
to go down in history as His special friends.
Mary – well, she was a dreamer – and she absolutely idolised Jesus –
and there can’t be many things more likely to drive anyone to distraction
than the sight of a kid sister mooning over an idol!
I didn’t idolise Him – though I would have died for Him –
many of us would have done.
The times Jesus and I  had were in the early mornings
when He came in from His prayer times…
Everyone else was asleep and I was up and doing,
getting ready for the day.
He’d meet me at the well –
and we’d talk about what He’d experienced in His prayer –
and I’d listen and we’d chat about what it all might mean.

And then – every now and again when I was busy about something,
I’d suddenly get an insight into what He’d said.
It was as if He’d just popped into my mind –
or, more precisely my heart – to remind me of something –
or buck me up – or just give me a spiritual hug now and again…
I didn’t need to stay at His feet – He was always with me –
He still is…and always will be…
That’s all prayer is, you know, just being aware of God with you –
wherever you are – whatever you are doing…
But it’s easy to forget when you are busy.

It might help to spend a bit of time looking in my prayer cupboard.
There are lost of ideas that have helped people for generations –
there may just be something right for you.
Not that I’m knocking “proper prayer” –
when you can have it there’s nothing to beat it!
Time just between you and Jesus – wonderful!
The cupboard is a bit like any store. fresh stuff is always best –
but, sometimes, you just have to get something
from the cupboard or freezer to keep you going…

Getting ready to visit the Cupboard!

Read the story of Martha in Luke 10: 38-42 and try to read it as a conversation between friends.  Are you a Martha or a Mary?  Which would you rather be?

© 200X Wellspring

[This is one of a series of nine posts using one’s imagination to get inside a biblical character to make him or her come alive for listeners or readers.     Coming soon – Part 2]

Wellspring is a Liturgy and Spirituality website in the United Kingdom. They have a variety of materials that may touch and inspire you.  Please check out their website for yourself:
http://www.wellsprings.org.uk/wellsprings.htm

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About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
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